Having worked with many talented colleagues and mentors for over 20 years, I feel extremely fortunate to have a turn at such a prestigious honor. Teaching is a calling, and none of us became educators for the awards, so any distinction is welcome recognition of the hard work of education. Poincaré’s quote, 'A collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house,' articulates my teaching philosophy, so I also see this award attesting to the value of giving context to science.

Robert Jensen Missoula, MT | 7-12, Science, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Robert “Rob” Jensen began his teaching career through the Teach For America program at Yerba Buena High School, teaching Integrated science and biology for three years. He has since taught at Hellgate High School for nearly 20 years and currently teaches 10th grade Biology and a 9th-12th grade STEM research course. Rob consistently involves his students in real-world applications of science, from real-time investigations of epidemics to watching a veterinarian spay cats in his classroom. He has also shared his love of travel with students, leading them on many trips to study sea turtles and ecology in Latin America. Rob was named Outstanding Montana Biology Teacher by the National Biology Teachers Association, has been recognized as the most influential teacher of a U.S. Presidential Scholar, and authored a published workbook on student engagement strategies. Rob has helped guide his talented research students to the state science championship six times. He was named Montana Science Mentor of the Year and received the Outstanding Teacher award for his support of student research. Inspired by his Peace Corps service in Morocco and Cameroon, Rob has also long been interested in international education. He studied the Japanese education system through the Fulbright Memorial Fund, worked with science teachers in Russia, and led a workshop for local science teachers in China through Teachers Without Borders. Rob holds degrees from the University Montana (B.S in wildlife ecology, B.S. in forest resources management, and B.A. in zoology) and from the University of Minnesota (M.S. in wildlife ecology, for his studies of Barbary macaques in Morocco). He holds broadfield certification in secondary science and has been National Board Certified in biology since 2007.